Washington DC’s first hardwood offices open at 80 M Street SE


Ozgur Gungor
Americas Press Office, New York

September 22, 2022

Arup today celebrates the opening of the three-story hardwood addition atop 80 M Street SE (80 M) in Washington DC’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. The 108,000 square foot overbuild features the first commercial office space built using solid wood in Washington DC.

Arup provided a full range of engineering design services for the overbuild project, including structural engineering, MEP engineering, acoustic consultancy, and fire and life safety consultancy. Notably, Arup worked with developer Columbia and architect Hickok Cole to navigate a code change process, gaining approval for the exposed solid wood vertical extension from the DC code authority. Arup’s integrated team of mass timber experts have demonstrated that our proposed solutions meet current fire and life safety code requirements and comply with the standards of the 2021 International Building Code, which allows mass timber buildings up to 12 floors.

Now open, the three light-filled floors above the existing 286,000 square foot building are made from more than 1,300 tons of solid wood sourced from forests in the Pacific Northwest and Eastern Canada. The addition was designed to improve the productivity and well-being of building occupants, with 15-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and 3,000 square feet of outdoor amenities. As a renewable material, wood has a significantly lower carbon footprint than conventional building materials like concrete and steel. Additionally, the lighter weight of solid wood minimized structural reinforcement interventions in the existing building below, which saved capital and allowed the building to remain fully operational during construction.

“As a building material, solid wood not only offers unparalleled durability, but also incredible beauty, and we’re proud to have contributed to a project that has its many benefits,” said Matt Larson, Project Director and senior partner of Arup. “Our coordination with the DC Code Authority in developing robust solutions outside of the prescriptive requirements for tall wood buildings has helped 80M become the first building in Washington DC to feature exposed wood over 85 feet tall,” added Lauren Wingo, Arup Project Manager and Senior. Structural engineer.


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